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Eyewitness News staff to grow; Buffalo scores in NHL ratings

By Alan Pergament

It is no secret that the staff of Eyewitness News is leaner than that of its rivals.

However, Channel 7's next general manager, Michael Nurse, said in a telephone interview earlier this week that he expects to get more resources from the station's owner for promotion and news personnel to try and make the station more competitive.

"We're going to be able to have more boots on the ground,” said Nurse of the news department.

The staff is unlikely to ever become as large as its rivals, which carry 10 p.m. newscasts and are more active on the weekends. But a few new reporters would be a good start.

Nurse officially takes over as GM on July 1, a day after Bill Ransom's last day as general manager. 

NBC has given low-rated "Hannibal" starring Hugh Dancy an order for a second season of 13 episodes, which will run sometime in 2014. WNYers have pretty much rejected the series, with it typically getting ratings under 2 each week. Thursday's original episode "jumped" to a 2.8 on Channel 2. Still it finished fourth in its time slot here to Channel 4's 10 O'Clock News (4.7), ABC's summer series "Rookie Blue" (4.5) on Channel 7 and a repeat of CBS' "Elementary" (3.6) on Channel 4. In its renewal announcement, NBC said the series scores well with critics, viewers who make more than $100,000 and are in the 18-49 demographic, and in viewing several days after episodes originally air. Still, its renewal is somewhat surprising considering its low national ratings. I would guess it might also do well internationally.

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Hugh Dancy: "Hannibal" Given a Reprieve

Chicago's 2-1 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings in game seven of its Stanley Cup conference semifinal playoff series Wednesday night was the highest-rated NHL game ever on the NBC Sports Network with a 2.07 rating. Of course, the network hasn't been around very long. Still, the game also was the most-watched conference semifinal game ever on cable dating back to 1994.  

Naturally, viewership in Western New York was very high. Buffalo was the only market without a playoff team that hit the Top 5. The top five markets for the game were Chicago (17.21), Detroit (14.96), Pittsburgh (6.24), Buffalo (5.16) and Boston (4.47).

The NHL is pretty much guaranteed a big market Stanley Cup final series with Los Angeles playing Chicago in the Western Conference final and Boston playing Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference final. That should help ratings.

Meanwhile, the NBA is guaranteed a small market final series with San Antonio having already qualified in the Western Conference to face either Miami or Indiana in the Eastern Conference. For the sake of ratings, the NBA needs superstar LeBron James and Miami to close out the Pacers if it is to have any chance of getting decent ratings for the finals.

Local independent station WBBZ has announced that starting Monday it will be carrying the classic cartoon series "The Bullwinkle Show" at 10 pm. on weeknights at the same that time the MeTV network changes its summer schedule. There are several other schedule changes, with the move of "Night Gallery" to 11 p.m. weekdays among the most notable.

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